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Enrollment stabilizes for Mountain View Whisman this school year after recent declines

Original post made on Apr 7, 2023

Mountain View Whisman saw its enrollment hold steady this fall after two years of declines that the district experienced during the pandemic, newly released data from the California Department of Education shows.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 6, 2023, 3:58 PM

Comments (7)

Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2023 at 12:30 pm

MV Resident is a registered user.

The vision in the last major round of school construction was for 450-person schools that would have the critical mass of students and families to enable differentiated instruction and community support like strong PTAs. The current numbers are well below this… is it time to consider bigger changes to help address that gap? Seems many years of education will be happening before enrollment gets anywhere close to the capacity limits.

Posted by papa K
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:05 pm

papa K is a registered user.

Just want to comment on the excellent online graphics in this article. Nicely done!

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:34 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

MV Resident / that seems a good observation and comment (I participated and supported the 450 per elementary design & build policy when I was on the Bd.).
Fortunately - we at that time (Coladonato + Wheeler) were able to prevent the previous policy of enlarging South of El Camino schools to 650 each! The Administration has purposefully 'throttled' Castro enrollment [the most segregated school] to only 2 classrooms per grade level, though that new facility like all other elementaries was architect-designed to support 450. ( 3 permanent classrooms per grade)

The excess capacity that MVWSD currently has, was designed to spread classrooms (and easy access) throughout the city so there can be easily walkable school communities. The development of East Whisman will start to fill-out Vargas, and the Monta Loma numbers will eventually recover when Shoreline (Google residentials) get going. Obviously The Sky Is Not Falling on where to put the 'next 100' ('23-24 pre-enrollment gain) or even the next 865! The current 9 school design capacity is 4,050 for 100% filled permanent construction regular classrooms (surge or extra programs not considered, Like PK).

How to reduce unused capacity? How to cut administrative headcount ratios down to the county average?? (Per Pupil Ratio: Administrators is 26% more top-heavy than the county average / most recent data)

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2023 at 2:49 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

There are a lot of things that are left out of the article. The enrollment in specific grade levels needs to be looked at if you want to see the impact of school age population declines. The TK enrollment is being increased by state mandate which doesn't last forever. I.e. not all the TK age kids are enrolled yet but things are moving that way. This isn't real student growth, just more coverage at the youngest age levels. The graphic shows that BOTH middle schools grew yet then counts the northern one as evidence that construction is growing in the north of the city.

As for saying "most" of the construction is happening in the north of the city, that does not seem to be true to me. What evidence backs that up? There has been so much new apartment construction happening along El Camino Real that this must be counted in to the new construction factor. The housing element is trying to force more construction to occur in the southern reaches of the city, with major plans to see the shopping centers there redeveloped to include large new apartment complexes. El Camino Real is a favored corridor for housing development. There will be big impacts from the East Whisman redevelopment but that has not yet started to occur. It remains to be seen how many kids live in each area of this new apartment construction.

You really need to separate out TK enrollment and then consider growth trends by age level. It looks to me like three could be some forthcoming declines at the middle schools, based on lackluster growth overall at the elementary schools, i.e. grades 4 and 5. These are the future 6th graders,

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2023 at 3:05 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Some trends from the grade level enrollment this year compared to last. First, overall, enrollment is still down over 500 students from what it was 2019-2020, which in turn was a small decline from the year before. So we are dealing with smaller enrollment than would have been expected in 2018.

Next look at each grade this year compared to the enrollment in the grade one lower last year, i.e. look at the effect of grade cohort progressions. They all tend to be down about 5%.. That's a pretty big trend toward population decline, even though the total stayed steady. Why did it stay steady? It would appear to be the fact that more TK kids are returning which kept grade K reporting artificially high since it combines K and TK age levels.

I think it's pretty clear that what really happened was at least a 3% drop in population over last year. So it is NOT stabilizing. People are moving away for whatever reason, faster than new people are moving in. And is talking about Fall 2022 compared to Fall 2021.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 14, 2023 at 7:10 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

"Next look at each grade this year compared to the enrollment in the grade one lower last year, i.e. look at the effect of grade cohort progressions. They all tend to be down about 5%." THIS IS NOT UNUSUAL for MVWSD. For at least the last 10-12 years the I studied this school enrollment data, there has been something-like a 5?-3% grade enrollment falloff as students progress. [check the various Demographics consultant reports over that time period].

Unlike Los Altos - and Palo Alto - which (in the past) did not have this decline, families with students seemed to Move Away from MVWSD as the families got older. In the past - there was a much bigger percent drop-off going 5th (elementary) to 6th (middle school).

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2023 at 2:45 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

What's different now then is that the middle school grades are not seeing such a big drop off compared to average elementary school cohort sizes. So to me, that says middle schools will be dropping more going forward. The elementary ages are not growing in size and if the departures during middle school continue, then there will be fewer still in middle school. Size is down 13% compared to 5 years ago grades 1-5. Size is down 8.5% over that 5 year period for middle school grades. Middle school ages are going to see the same drop off as elementary over the next 3 years. So I think it's premature to say that the so called decline has "reversed." It's going to stay smaller for quite a while going forward.

And of course, the numbers are STILL down 9% overall, 2022 vs 2017. That's a lot of room to grow into the schools that were just expanded while actually expecting enrollment to grow after 2017.

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